Book Review: All the Light we Cannot See – by Anthony Doerr

All the LightIn Paris before World War II, Marie-Laure is a blind French girl. Her father is a locksmith at a Natural History Museum in Paris. He dotes on her, teaches her to be self-sufficient and buys her hugely expensive Braille books of Jules Verne.

Werner and his younger sister Jutta are German orphan children, living in an orphanage in the Ruhr area of Germany, the industrial and coal mining district of the country. Werner is brilliant with electronics and technology. When the Nazis rise, they notice him and he gets a scholarship for one of the best schools in the country. The Reich invests in its youth.

These two protagonists grow up separately before and during the war, and through a series of plot twists, their paths cross in 1944, just as the Allies land in Normandy and start taking France back.

Hitler’s “Thousand Year Reich” lasted a total of twelve years. He is single-handedly responsible for tens of millions of deaths in Europe, and for turning Germany and the surrounding countries into wastelands of destruction. Hundreds of millions of people’s lives were turned upside down and very often destroyed as a result of the war. Marie-Laure and Werner are common people caught up in the maelstrom of destruction.

Through their stories we see the pain those times inflicted on the people. After the war was over, we follow a few of their friends and relatives all they way to today’s time, and we witness the scars.

My own parents were born in 1935 and 1936 in Germany, children in the war. They could have been Marie-Laure and Werner. I am fortunate that both of them are still alive. When I talk to them today, and ask about their childhood, their eyes do not remain dry, and the pain and suffering is still trapped within them. Their lives never had a chance to unfold, and their entire adulthood, their middle age and their old age are characterized by coping with what was done to them when they were children.

All the Light we Cannot See tells a timeless story, with deep insight, of a brutal time, and a dark age in history. It’s unlike any World War II book, yet, it’s the World War II book that everyone should read.

C’est la vie.

Rating - Four Stars

Buy the book here.

Book Review: Unbroken – by Laura Hillenbrand

On June 6, 2014, the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I saw a photograph of an old man with a walker, kissing the ground on Omaha Beach.


Presumably, he landed here on June 4, 1944 when he was a young man. All his life he has grieved for this friends who lost their lives right here on this sand so many years ago. What was it that spared him and allowed him to live a full life? Was it all just luck?

World War II veterans are now all much over 90 years old. There are very few left who have seen the atrocities with their own eyes, who have had to live with the memories of terrible loss and pain. One of those men is Louie Zamperini. He was born in 1916, grew up in Torrance, California, and he is now 98 years old. He has outlived everyone he knew. And he told his story.

unbrokenUnbroken is the story of the life of Louie Zamperini. Written by Laura Hillenbrand and first published in 2010, the book tells the story of a troubled youth growing up in Southern California. Louie found that he had a knack for running, and promptly proceeded to break many records. The apex of his running career was when he participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where he actually met Hitler. When America joined the war after Pearl Harbor, Louie was a bombardier stationed in the Pacific theater. He was shot down, survived many weeks on a raft and eventually was captured by the Japanese. He endured unimaginable abuse for two years as a POW of the Japanese.

One of the guards, Mutsushiro Watanabe, nicknamed “the Bird,” was the most brutal and sadistic abuser of all. He targeted Louie and brutalized and beat him daily, for years.

The book Unbroken is one of the most powerful, shattering, nightmarish books I have read in a long time. I have read many books about World War II and the atrocities committed by the Nazis. From that perspective, the war in the Pacific was just a footnote. Yes, the Japanese were waging war, too. I had no idea that the Japanese were so brutal, so abusive, and so reckless with human life and dignity. The Nazi death camps seem mild in comparison.

Japan held some 132,000 POWs from America, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Holland, and Australia. Of those, nearly 36,000 died, more than one in every four. Americans fared particularly badly; of the 34,648 Americans held by Japan , 12,935— more than 37 percent—died. By comparison , only 1 percent of Americans held by the Nazis and Italians died. Japan murdered thousands of POWs on death marches, and worked thousands of others to death in slavery, including some 16,000 POWs who died alongside as many as 100,000 Asian laborers forced to build the Burma-Siam Railway. Thousands of other POWs were beaten, burned, stabbed, or clubbed to death, shot, beheaded, killed during medical experiments, or eaten alive in ritual acts of cannibalism. And as a result of being fed grossly inadequate and befouled food and water, thousands more died of starvation and easily preventable diseases. Of the 2,500 POWs at Borneo’s Sandakan camp, only 6, all escapees, made it to September 1945 alive. Left out of the numbing statistics are untold numbers of men who were captured and killed on the spot or dragged to places like Kwajalein, to be murdered without the world ever learning their fate.

– (Kindle Locations 5081-5092)

Unbroken is a testimony to the human spirit. How much pain and suffering and loss of dignity and humanity can a person endure before breaking, before dying? Unbroken shows how much in graphic, painful, chilling, frightening detail.

And to top it all off, Louie Zamperini is alive today to confirm his story. We may never forget.

I didn’t know how brutal the Japanese were. How did they change so quickly after the war? It seems right after the surrender, they went into high gear searching for their own countrymen war criminals. It’s hard for me to reconcile that these brutal, bestial people are the same ones that are now building my Toyota.

Here is an interview in 60 Minutes with “the Bird.” This will not be meaningful to you if you have not read the book. I recommend you read the book first, and then come back here and check out the interview of “the Bird.” It will give you cold chills.

Here is a video of a 60 Minutes interview with Watanabe, “the Bird.”

Louie Zamperini is a remarkable man. Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken is a remarkable book.

Rating: ****

Louie Zamperini at age 22 and 95.

Finally, for more information about World War II in the Pacific, there is a great blog, which I have been following, called Pacific Paratrooper. Please check it out!

Book Review: Winter of the World – by Ken Follett

Winter of the WorldDid you ever wonder how communism arose in the Soviet Union and how it became so compelling for so many people in so many countries for such a long time?

Did you ever want to learn how exactly East Germany came about? What was going on with the German people that caused them to split up the nation?

Did you ever wonder how Nazism could possibly arise in an educated, civilized country and how it came to corrupt the government, law enforcement, the judicial system, and eventually the military?

Reading Winter of the World, the second book of Follett’s Century Trilogy, answers these questions and many others. The book follows events that led up to World War II, and then guides the reader through the war and the first post-war years. It makes world history come to life in front of his eyes, just like Fall of Giants, the first book of the trilogy, did.

The characters in Winter of the World are in some cases the same as the protagonists we got to know in Fall of Giants. Earl Fitzherbert in England is still in charge of Ty Gwyn, and his sister Maud is living in Germany with her husband Walter. The elder Williamses are still alive. But they are no longer the main characters. Rather, the story is carried by their children. Boy Fitzherbert and his illegitimate brother Lloyd Williams are main characters from England.

The Buffalo Peshkov family, now led by the gangster-like Lev plays a pivotal role and connects the American contingent with the Russian roots. Lev’s daughter Daisy is a key contributor to the story. Lev’s illegitimate son Greg works for the United States government in intelligence, and his, unbeknownst to him, half-brother Volodya Peshkov is a Red Army Intelligence officer. Grigory Peshkov, his father, is a general and close adviser to Stalin. I found Volodya’s observation of communism, Stalin and his murderous regime, as well as his view of the American system most interesting. It helped me understand how the Soviet empire came about.

Then there is the American Dewar family, where Woody Dewar, Gus’ son, plays the most pivotal role. On the American side we learn about Pearl Harbor and how it forced America into the war.

In Germany, the van Ulrich family, particularly their younger daughter Carla, teach us about what life was like in Berlin, under the yoke of the Gestapo, behind the curtain of Germany, then the evil empire. Carla’s brother Eric illustrates how young German men could possibly be convinced to go to war and attack neighboring countries, looting and raping them until nothing was left.

Closing the loop back in England, there is also Ethel Leckwith, formerly Williams, Dai’s daughter and Billy’s sister. Both Ethel and Billy end up as English Members of Parliament.

The middle of the last century is spread wide open and through the actions and challenges of these six major families and their interconnections, Follett presents a history lesson as riveting as any epic novel.

He writes in a very simple language, which is easy to read and which makes it hard to put the book down, although it’s 940 tightly written pages in hardcover. This is like reading War and Peace or Count of Monte Cristo – or Follett’s own Pillars of the Earth – in other words: a massive reading undertaking.

But I never noticed, besides the experience that it took me a lot longer to read this than other books. When I was done, I was sorry I had to leave all the people I got to know so well. I can’t wait for the third book now.

Rating: ****

Rantings of a Kook: Holocaust Denier – Ingrid Rimland Zundel

There is an online journal called innocently enough VT – Veterans Today.

Check out this entry by Rimland Zundel of June 12, 2011, however, and you see quickly what a nutcase website Veterans Today actually is.

This whole piece is full of so much garbage, I am compelled to print it out here and comment on it paragraph by paragraph – and then I need to take a shower:

A View of the World through the Prism of Europe


The whole thing starts out really nicely with a sharp picture of the most misunderstood man in the world, the one we should all feel sorry for because we have driven him into so much misery by our evil war that he saw no way out but to put a bullet through his head.

If a German had said in 1945 that within 60 years large numbers of his countrymen would be celebrating the Wehrmacht’s unconditional surrender as “liberation,” his mental state of mind would have been highly suspect. Today, however, Germany’s national mental health has deteriorated to the point that such insanity is seen by many not only as “normal” but as politically and morally desirable.

Yes, in 1945, the country had just emerged from a period of 12 years of abuse, terror, repression, poverty, hunger, and denial of education, religion, art, freedom of speech and freedom of choice. The German people were brainwashed to the core. An entire generation was raised based on lies and deception, kept in line by brutal repression. Yes, they didn’t know what normal countries were like. It took years of healing before people could go about normal lives. And many, particularly older people, were scarred forever. And millions were flat-out DEAD. So yes, Zundel is right, his mental state of mind would have been suspect in 1945.

What has happened to Germans during the past six decades?  In what sense were Germans “liberated” following World War II?

Asks Dr. Hennig, a renown German psychiatrist known for his various writings on brainwashing:  Were Germans “liberated” from their sanity?

So Hennig thinks Germans were sane when they raped the Austrians and Czechs, overran and slaughtered the Poles, walked over the Belgians, and enslaved the French, all in a couple of years of megalomania. They were sane when they made half the country spy on the other half, and arrest anyone who didn’t agree with the ideology of the regime.

Below I quote and summarize from Dr. Hennig’s recent essay, Das Deutsche Reich in Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft,  translated by James M. Damon:

Were they “liberated” from the 14 to 15 million dead in a war that was forced on the Third Reich, as per the latest writings by the eminent Russian historian, Viktor Suworow, who documented conclusively that Hitler’s War was a preventive strike against the massive military build-up on the Western borders by Stalin?

Here Hennig is rewriting history just like Cheney and Bush did claiming that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. Hitler was in cahoots with Stalin and tried to get him to help him conquer France in the west. Stalin, sly fox and murderer that he was, knew a thug when he saw one and didn’t fall for it. The fact is, Hitler moved against Austria with reckless bullying and threat of all-out war before anyone knew what was going on. Then he did it again against Czechoslovakia only because the Brits were too gullible to see through Hitler’s motives. They should have checked with Stalin right then. Poor Hitler. He had to do a preemptive strike to save the country! Did anyone read Mein Kampf? He wrote about what he had in mind, in detail, ten years before he started putting things in motion.

Were they “liberated” from the three million women, children and elderly who died while attempting to flee rampaging Russians, Poles and Czechs at the end of the war – or who were later expelled from their ancestral lands in the East?

Russians, Poles and Czechs had been exterminated by the millions by the Nazis between 1939 and 1944, as is well documented. Yes, they stood up and came back with a vengeance when they finally could, when Hitler finally was overpowered in the west and became too diluted. My own grandparents were refugees from Silesia to the west. They lost their home and homeland – forever. My own father, born 1936, remembers those years of misery and poverty. He was there, unlike Ingrid Rimland, walking on foot as refugees. He does not blame the Poles or the Russians. He blames the insanity of the German megalomaniac for the endless misery and the full destruction of a nation, a continent, and entire peoples.

Were they “liberated” from the additional millions of noncombatant killed by Allied terrorist bombings of the densely populated residential areas of Germany’s cities?

Give me a break, Allied terrorist bombings. What were they supposed to do? Go house to house to stop the insanity?

Were they “liberated” from the deaths of a million German prisoners of war in the notorious Rheinwiesen Camps run by Eisenhower through starvation and exposure, after all armed forces had capitulated and all the guns had fallen silent?

Go read Five Chimneys by Olga Lengyel, or Auschwitz by Miklos Nyiszli, or The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Shirer, or Man’s Search  for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, or Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, or watch Sarah’s Key. And please don’t tell me that Lengyel, Nyiszli, Shirer, Frankl or Frank made all this up. Go buy Der Gelbe Stern by Schoenberner and read the hundreds of eyewitness reports and see the pictures. After you get your education, then tell me that you feel sorry for the poor Germans in Eisenhower’s prison camps.

Were they “liberated” from the loss of a third of their ancestral territory, their Eastern provinces?  “Liberated” from the burden of millions of cripples and orphans in the aftermath of the War?

The German people were raped, starved, crippled and killed by the millions by their own leaders. An entire generation of male youth, those born between 1910 and 1930, were obliterated. There isn’t a village in Germany that does not have a memorial – ein Denkmal – on the village square with the names of the boys that went to war and never came back, died 17, 18, 19, 20 years old for the fatherland, sent by ruthless maniacs who didn’t give a damn about anyone, including their own young men, even their children. Hitler sent his boys into suicide situations, knowing the outcome in advance, by the millions. He asked them to fight to the last man, because the last man’s life was just as worthless to him as any other life. So yes, Rimland Zundel and Hennig, I believe the German people were “liberated” from sending ever more young boys into hopeless annihilation, had that insanity been allowed to go on longer.

World War II was, in fact, according to Dr Hennig, designed to complete the permanent mental crippling of the Reich, which was the stated aim of both World Wars.

The Germans are clearly documented to have started both World Wars – well, WW I actually got started by the blockheaded Austrian Emperor, but the Germans loved to jump on board to get their share of the loot. But now, some imaginary historical god “designed to cripple the Reich” and started the wars. Ludicrous beyond belief.

Dr. Hennig makes the following points:

Mental crippling is what has been inflicted on the Germans in the last six decades. The victorious Allies, assisted by collaborators from Germany’s own ranks, succeeded in robbing Germany of its history, laws, culture and, above all, of the capacity to investigate and understand what, precisely, has happened to them.

I see, the poor crippled and brainwashed Germans are now robbed of history, laws, culture and capacity to investigate and understand what happened to them. Don’t insult me. I was born a German, and I am not crippled and robbed. Germany today has a rich history, a strong educational system, one of the most powerful economies in the world, a modern infrastructure, excellent art, superb literature, and – I am absolutely certain – would have none of this if Hitler and his despot cronies had had their way. The Nazis ruined a nation, its wealth, its spirit, its vision, its art, its soul and its reputation.

Germany’s political enemies have succeeded in inducing guilt complexes in an entire unsuspecting population that have produced the classic symptoms of national psychosis that we see today.

The basic techniques of what is now called “brainwashing” have been familiar to history since ancient times.  A more closely defined concept of “Induced Insanity” was introduced by Emil Kraepelin over 100 years ago.  What is new, writes Dr. Hennig, is the extent to which an entire nation with a highly evolved culture can be driven into an abnormal mental state to the point of collective incapacitation through mental and intellectual manipulation.

What I wonder about, Hennig, is how an entire nation with a highly evolved culture could be driven to an abnormal state of half the country persecuting the other half. How can a moral people lock up millions of their own and others into prison camps, starve them, torture them, systematically kill them, all in the name of the goodness of the race? Anybody who wants some background on that might want to read Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. There is an example of an abnormal mental state and intellectual manipulation!

The fields of psychology and psychiatry have long been familiar with three forms of insanity: innate, acquired, and induced. The layman needs no further explanation of innate (hereditary) insanity, or of insanity that is acquired by such things as disease, injury, or poisoning.

Induced insanity is something else entirely.  Induced insanity has little to do with intelligence but a great deal to do with suspension of logical thought brought about by targeted indoctrination. The younger and less mature the psyche, the more devastating are the effects of indoctrination. Through early targeting and indoctrination all logical thinking, including the inherent reflexes of self-preservation, can be neutralized.

When this happens, the subject can be conditioned to act against his own vital interests.

Yes, Rimland Zundel, that’s exactly what Hitler did to the German nation starting around 1925. Fortunately he was stopped by 1945, after 20 years of German dark ages.

It was reserved for the modern techniques of Western “re-education” with their sophisticated and gradual brainwashing to turn an entire major nation against its own well-being. It has accomplished this through the combined use of all communication, entertainment and education media. Modern re-education begins in early childhood and is backed by the combined resources of the legislative, executive and the judicial branches of government.  The most tragic example of this is present-day Germany in all its anti-national manifestations. =====

After Germany lost the Second World War, along with its intellectual elite and leading culture carriers, its enemies introduced a sharply focused and skillfully applied program of re-education. This program radically rejected everything that constituted the national German character and transformed it into its opposite. Allied re-education destroyed the characteristic German behavior patterns that maintain national identity as well as cultural and intellectual heritage. These inherited behavior patterns and strategies had emerged over generations of selection as a survival strategy in the struggle for existence. Robbed of these patterns and strategies, Germany is doomed to destruction.

Poor Germany. The German economic miracle, after it was allowed to throw off the shackles of despotism and lunacy in 1945, created a nation of innovation, wealth, and intellectual achievement envied by the rest of the world. What Kool-Aid is Hennig drinking: Germany is doomed to destruction. WHAT?

The German nation has already fallen a great distance backwards, assaulted by its envious competitors far beyond the own limits of law and morality, sacrificing spirituality and vitality. Why did the treacherous representatives of the “Bundesrepublik” recently welcome their own defeat on the occasion of enemy victory celebrations in Normandy? This was, after all, an assault on Europe by non-European powers!

Calling Normandy an assault on Europe by a non-European power is an insult to every American and British soldier who died on that horrible beach. It is an insult to the thousands of American orphans whose fathers didn’t come back from an impossible mission on a far-away continent, who gave his life for the ideals of liberty for all people – as well as the Germans. Talk to any old Bavarians who were alive during the war about how they felt when the American tanks finally rattled into their villages in the spring of 1945. They were relieved and grateful that the nightmare was finally over. Every one of them. Relieved and grateful.

Or what reasons could Chancellor Schroeder possibly have for apologizing to the Poles in Warsaw? Schroeder might have been called “Chancellor,” but he was obviously not a rational leader of a sovereign nation. These treacherous “re-educated” collaborators are misusing the commemorations of Germany’s disastrous defeat to confuse cause and effect. Their object is to imprison all Germans in a paranoid ghetto of “Crime and Punishment,” incessantly repeating the fiction of Germany’s sole responsibility for the War.

Germany’s enemies and “re-educated” collaborators constantly ignore the fact that not Germany but England and France declared war in 1939 – as well as the fact that the United States had already initiated hostilities without declaring war. Germany attacked Poland only after Poland, incited by British-French guarantees, had murdered thousands of Germans in the provinces stolen at Versailles, while driving additional tens of thousands from their homes and interning them in concentration camps. The United States attacked Yugoslavia in 1991 for much weaker reasons!

Oh, sure, and Hitler, white knight in shining armour, came to the rescue of the poor German people against the bad, bad Poles. So why did Nazis dress up as Polish soldiers to instigate an attack against Germans, to give Hitler a reason to move against Poland?

Of all of Germany’s enemies, the ones who have done the most harm are not its Allied “liberators” but rather their German helpers, mentally crippled and “re-educated” flunkies who are determined to be “more Catholic than the Pope.” The victors of World War II benefited greatly from a tragic German character trait that the Allies factored into their postwar calculations. Bismarck described this proclivity very well:

“The compulsion to serve foreign interests, even when this is possible only through abandonment of our own national interests, is a disease whose geographic distribution is limited to Germany.”

Napoleon had made a similar observation forty years before, when he wrote:

“There is no nation that is more congenial than the Germans, but no nation that is more credulous. It was never necessary for me to sow discord among them, all I had to do was spread my nets and they would run into them like skittish animals, grabbing each other by the throat in the belief they were doing their ‘duty.’ No nation on Earth is more foolish. No lie is so crude that the Germans will not believe it! On account of some fanciful slogan they would attack their fellow countrymen with greater fury than they attacked their real enemies.”

Quoting a sane mind like Napoleon has me very impressed.

Does the absurd Holocaust Myth come to mind?

Holocaust Myth – so explain this to me! Photoshop?


Consider this:  There are only two countries on earth where the “Holocaust” has morphed into an absolute religion – Israel and Germany!  In the words of former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, “We have falsified our own history into a criminal record!”

This induced insanity is no longer restricted to limited groups within Germany proper. Amazing numbers of citizens of Western nations are now behaving like Pavlovian dogs. Pavlov, the famous St. Petersburg behaviorist, conditioned his laboratory animals so that they would begin salivating and releasing gastric juices at the sound of a bell. He did this by feeding them only when the bell rang, and so succeeded in “re-educating” them by resetting their nervous and digestive systems to a false stimulus.

Insinuating that all modern Germans suffer from induced insanity is an insult. Comparing all of western historians to Pavlov’s dogs is ludicrous.

The same thing has happened to re-educated Germans – they have been conditioned to the extent that when they hear words such as “Heimat,” “Vaterland,” “Nation,” and “Volk,” their nervous systems release adrenalin with the result that they react aggressively, even hysterically.

It’s because the little man with the mustache messed up the entire rhetoric. Not only did he do that, he even destroyed his first name. Who in their right mind would name a child Adolf? That name is forever used up.

To recognize and confront a superior enemy operating from cover is without doubt one of the most difficult tasks imaginable – and yet this is precisely what Germany is beginning to do to survive. To recognize and see through her enemy’s methods is to win half the victory. Complete victory will be achieved only when Germany regains its sovereign capacity to act in its legitimate state, which is the German Reich.

Who exactly is the “enemy” of Germany? The English-speaking world? America? Judaism? Germany is barely surviving? What nonsense this drivel really is!

Despite its thousand year existence and the fact that “The Reich” is a neutral term connoting an authentic and legitimate state under international law, the concept of the “German Reich” has little credibility among Germans today.  Many are terrified by its mere mention. However, it is reassuring to know, writes Dr. Hennig,  that re-education can proceed in both directions, and many Germans are optimistic enough to believe that the side that tells the truth will ultimately win.

All of a sudden it has existed for a thousand years? Wasn’t Hitler’s Reich supposed to exist for a thousand years and it barely made it through 12? Is that because the world hated it so much, that France and England declared war? Twisted!

New hopes are rising and new avenues of civic activism are opening up – even in Germany.  It is indisputable that within the System a number of intrepid dissenters are making their presence known – the well-known TV anchor Eva Hermann, the politician Thilo Sarrazin and professors Hampel and Schachtschneider along with their supporters are some of the better-known critics of the current leadership of Germany.  “The System” itself is showing terminal symptoms of disease and decay.  It is now in retreat, which makes it even more dangerous and unpredictable.

Ripe breeding ground for new nut cases to arrive and do it all over again!

At this point I got tired of reading the drivel any further.

Do I get to take my shower now? I need it.


Book Review: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – by William Shirer

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is – by far – the longest book I have ever read. Longer than Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, longer than Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. It seems like I have been reading this book – FOREVER. And it’s a non-fiction book!

While it drowned out all my reading and occupied all my spare time, its 1143 pages of small print captivated my attention, spellbound me, drove me to google images of the key players, review historical accounts, look up other books on the subject and dig into fringe Internet sites like those of Holocaust denial movements. I collected enough materials to write many more blog posts on the subject.

Since I always read before going to sleep, sometimes my dreams were deeply disturbed. When I turned the last page today of Shirer’s afterword, I was relieved. This was hard work, it was consuming.

Shirer starts telling the story of Adolf Hitler, with that of his parents and grandparents in Austria in the latter part of the 1800s. All through the story, of course, I knew how it ends, but I never knew any of the details. Shirer was actually present in Germany during the early years of the Nazi regime and he was often in the room – or in the arena – when Hitler spoke. As he told the story of the Third Reich, he guided me through conversations and events, making me feel like the proverbial fly on the wall when momentous things were going on. He showed events from the perspective of the German perpetrators, every step of the way, memo for memo, order for order, phone call for phone call, speech for speech.

Reading Rise and Fall laid open for me how disastrous this period of history was for Germany and for the world. I always knew it was bad. However, it was much, much, much worse than my worst nightmares could have played out. I am now stunned, shocked, disturbed and astonished. Most importantly, I am motivated to learn more and to research and write further.

I regret only that I didn’t read this book when I was 18 years old. Why is it that as young people, with few exceptions, we are not very interested in politics and history? Somehow, for most of us, history does not captivate us until later in life.

When I was young, my paternal grandfather was still alive. He was born in Silesia 1905 and was in the war in Italy through 1945 as part of a German unit. He lived until 1987, and I am now kicking myself for not having talked to him – ever – about his views and his experiences of that terrible time. I was born only 11 years after the fall of Hitler, that’s a blink of an eye. That time of history affected me directly – and that’s another blog post.

I cannot state enough times how important it is for every citizen of the world to read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It should be required reading for humanity.

Somebody should dictate that!

Rating - Four Stars